March 29th hasn’t been a terribly memorable day for Evertonians, but there are some key games to look back on. So, let’s take a look at how this date shaped Everton history as we know it.
1884: Everton pick up their first trophy
While Everton have been around since 1878, 1884 would bring their first real accomplishment since their creation. One of the only competitions around at the time was the Liverpool Senior Cup, a tournament that began the year prior involving every team from Liverpool and the surrounding areas (the competition still goes on today). Everton were unable to bring home the trophy in the Cup’s inaugural year, but the start of the competition the next season proved that things could be different. The Toffees grabbed multiple goal wins over St. Peter’s, Liverpool Ramble and Bootle, the tournament’s champion the year before, to book a trip to the final on March 29th, 1884.
Everton would take on Earlestown with a chance at their first piece of silverware in club history on the line. Now, there isn’t much information floating around about this final, but it is known that Everton did enough defensively to earn a clean sheet on their way to a 1-0 win and their first trophy. This would be the first and only major accomplishment at their Priory Road home, though, as the Toffees were forced out after the season and into their home for the next 8 years, Anfield, where they won their first-ever League Championship.
1905: Everton fall in FA Cup Replay
By the 1904-1905 season, Everton had faced plenty of disappointment, finishing runners-up in the league three times and in the FA Cup twice. From a league perspective, things were no different in this campaign as the Toffees, once again, finished runners-up in the top division of English football by 1 point to Newcastle. Their only other hope of breaking the streak came in the FA Cup, where they found themselves in the semifinals taking on a talented Aston Villa squad. Things would end all square in their first match, forcing a replay at Trent Bridge in Nottingham only 4 days later on March 29th, 1905.
With the Toffees hoping to advance to another FA Cup Final, the two teams took the field in front of a crowd of about 25,000. Everton would get a goal in this one by way of John Sharp, but they couldn’t keep their opponents out of the net as Billy Garraty and Harry Hampton both netted goals en route to a 2-1 victory for Villa. Behind a brace from Harry Hampton, Villa would go on to win the tournament 2-0 over Newcastle for their fourth FA Cup in their history. Fortunately, for Everton fans, the wait wouldn’t last long for their first FA Cup as the team won the tournament the following year.
1939: Everton beat Man United on the way to a title
As the 1938-1939 season began, Everton were contenders for the league title and World War II was beginning to become more of a reality. But despite the issues going on around the world, soccer would go on for at least one more year, a very important one in Toffee history. Everton would get off to a fantastic start, winning their first six games before suffering their first loss in late September to Huddersfield Town, 3-0. That loss began a stretch of 17 games where the Toffees were far from consistent, going 8-2-7 and losing the last two games of the calendar year. But, the turn of the year brought new hope for Everton as they began 1939 going unbeaten in 9 straight in all competitions before losing 2 of 3 to stop the run. That didn’t break the Toffees confidence, though, as they would get started on another unbeaten run in early March, which brings us to March 29th, 1939.
After defeating Leicester City and Birmingham City and drawing with Middlesborough, Everton travelled to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United and continue their run. The Toffees showed up to play that day as they kept a clean sheet defensively, while getting two goals from Torry Gillick and Tommy Lawton, respectively, for a 2-0 win. The victory was part of an 8-game unbeaten streak that helped the Toffees secure their 5th league title in club history, a trophy that they would hold on to for the next 8 years as the war forced the stoppage of League Division One Football until the 1946-1947 season.
And THAT is today in Everton history.